Would freezing federal worker salaries help cut government costs? House Republicans think so, and are floating the idea as one of several potential government spending cuts.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) recently launched YouCut, an online contest designed to highlight government projects his colleagues consider wasteful. Participants are asked to vote each week on five proposed cuts and the most popular is then introduced by Republicans to the full House for an up or down vote.
This week’s choices include cutting President Obama’s proposed 1.4 percent pay raise for civilian federal workers from next year’s budget. Republicans estimate the raises would cost taxpayers approximately $2 billion in fiscal 2011 and about $30 billion over the next decade.
Of course, this isn’t just a good idea to save money. But it would also be a step toward restoring some balance and fairness between federal and private pay. From an Examiner editorial last month:
Data compiled by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals the extent of the pay gap between federal and private workers. As of 2008, the average federal salary was $119,982, compared with $59,909 for the average private sector employee. In other words, the average federal bureaucrat makes twice as much as the average working taxpayer. Add the value of benefits like health care and pensions, and the gap grows even bigger. The average federal employee’s benefits add $40,785 to his annual total compensation, whereas the average working taxpayer’s benefits increase his total compensation by only $9,881. In other words, federal workers are paid on average salaries that are twice as generous as those in the private sector, and they receive benefits that are four times greater.